In honor of Parasite’s oscar dominance let’s look at Bong Joon Ho’s other work – The Host (2006)

I watched Parasite a couple of months ago and even though I really wanted to talk about it and some people considered it as a horror to me it really was not, so I never did. But seeing as how the movie had such an iconic and unforgettable night, what better time than now to check out more of his work?

The Host tells the story of  Park Gang-du (played by Song Kang-ho, who also stared in Parasite), who works in a snack bar alongside his father. Alongside them is his daughter, brother, and sister.

One day, as Park is delivering food to one of his clients he notices that the crowd is looking at a strange object or creature. Suddenly, the mysterious creature begins to move and drops into the water and after a brief moment shows up on the shore terrorizing everyone around it. As Park begins to run, he grabs what he assumes to be his daughter with him but soon realizes that he was mistaken and that she is in the clutches of the monster. Thinking that she is dead, he remains broken in the quarantined zone, until he gets a call from a familiar voice.

This movie took me by surprise. I knew that I was going to enjoy it since I love Korean horror and Bong has proven himself a superb director but I did not expect this movie to offer that much. On the surface, it seems like your regular monster movie but there is so much more to it.

Once again, much like in his other movies he manages to create a perfect mix of multiple genres. Humor, horror, action, drama, social commentary and more. A touching tale of a family trying to save one of their own while the whole world (mainly America) seems to be against them. It is amazing how he managed to cram so much good stuff into one monster movie.

At first, I was left with a few unanswered questions and loose ends but reading up more about it, it made me realize that some things were mainly symbolic. For example, the opening scene where we see two scientists, an American and Korean one. The American scientist tells the Korean that he should dump all of their toxic waste down the drain. At first, he is reluctant because he knows that it will end up in the river, but he ends up doing it. This is actually a reference to a real-life event: https://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/15/news/us-dumping-of-chemical-riles-koreans.html
That combined with the history between the US and Korea makes one thin, is the creature in the movie America itself? I will leave that up to you.

Safe to say, this movie left a mark on me. Especially since I watched it now. It was an odd connection. The whole “America dumping chemicals” thing reminded me of something happening in my country currently where pretty much most of the European countries dump their toxic waste in our country, so much so that we import 10x times more waste than we actually produce which is arguably the main contributor to the huge air pollution spike that made us one of if not the most polluted country ever. Add in some US interference and string-pulling behind the scenes that have also happened here and it is safe to say that it was relatable.

Final verdict: 9/10

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